I have lived in one home for twenty-three years and thought I’d die there or at least live in it until I had to go to a nursing home. One trip to view a new home in a retirement community changed my mind. The new house has some enticing features – one level, solar panels and drought tolerant landscaping, but they don’t say anything about leaving a familiar environment. The differences of opinion about how to pack the goods we would take with us only underscored the stress of leaving. My husband is an engineer and I’m artistic. I have to say, with my husband packing, I doubt one thing will have been broken. Not so, with me.
The ebb and flow of life in any community revolves around jobs, friends, perhaps church, activities, and medical care. But even this says little about the memories evoked when my husband and I sorted through “stuff” we owned for as long as fifty years. Sometimes our words were, “I don’t remember this. Or in the case of pictures, “Who is this?” We wondered why we held on to some things, which now would go to the trash or garage sale. Embodied in all of this is the realization that the combination of all events made us who we are today.
Good and bad memories reside in the house and the “goods” we called home. I’m not the same person I was twenty-three years ago. I’ve learned how to forgive those wrongs inflicted on me. I’ve learned to laugh more, to love more and embrace the change that inevitably comes to all of us. We’re bombarded with new technology, medical discoveries, religious points of views, and moral and ethical questions.
Change includes the loss of established ways of living and well developed friendships. None of it is easy to absorb, especially if I fear exploration of the new. Parts of me are afraid of change. Other parts say go for it. The challenges of making new friends, new activities, a new town and community lure me, attract me to embrace a new adventure in my life. In order to move, I had to ask myself some questions. Will I like it? Are good people everywhere? Will I find a writing community as good as my former one? Is there a faith community I will feel comfortable with? Will established circles of friends allow me entrance? Can I find like minded political views with a few people? All of these things challenge my comfort zone.
I can count on being the same person inside. I will establish new, good memories in my home. Though there will be sorrows in one form or another, I will weather the storms of life. I will form friendships of the quality I had before. I will not let go of my friends now separated by fifty miles. Thank goodness for email, Facebook, automobiles and the telephone. I’m thankful for the variety of ways we communicate in this point of time.
I can control my attitude towards change. I can grow with it or refuse to view it as my guide and friend. My life can be better or worse. I can be despondent or hopeful. Will it be easy to embrace the changes? I don’t think so. But I’m looking forward to new challenges and I’m excited about living in a new home. It’s my choice and I choose to be hopeful.